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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Every single night it's a struggle. I am a good cook, I've got shelves full of cookbooks and cooking magazines, but I just can't make it happen!<br><br>
I prefer more complex vegetarian dishes which I often don't have the time to shop for or make. The kids will rarely eat those, and prefer just plain chicken or pasta with green beans or broccoli. Dh doesn't really care but due to some health issues we are making a concerted effort to make sure his diet is full of grains and vegetables.<br><br>
I don't know why I have such a mental block about this. Once again, I have nothing for dinner. I just don't know what to make.
 

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Me too. Only I can one up you.<br>
Instead of fixing something, I have a meltdown and go through the drive through. At least you're not as bad as me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh we have done our share of takout. We don't have drive throughs around here, but are surrounded by enough gourmet restaurants to really put us in the poor house.
 

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That gets really annoying to me too, I go through spurts of that as well. We are almost out of beef and don't get anymore till August so I have to pay through the roof at the market for it now and it makes me not want to eat it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.<br><br>
I've been doing things lately like making a baked chicken, stuff the cavity with a head of garlic and a lemon, set on a bed of some huge homemade croutons. Something simple on the side. I hate just feeling like I throw something together, but I don't have time for complex dishes. I think you can make really simple food that seems a little more "fancy." I cook mostly Italian and good country French food which has a pretty simple basis anyways.
 

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I'm not a good cook, but one thing that helped me was to have a weekly plan. Monday night was some form of pasta night, Tuesday chicken, Wednesday Beef, Thursday leftover or eat out and Fri-Sun was DH's night.<br><br>
It helped to narrow down my choices of what to cook. OK, it's pasta night - so that meant: Spaghetti, Tortellini (soup or with spinach) or Mac-n-Cheese. It wasn't nearly as formal as a weekly meal plan (scary Type A thing) but it really helped me to figure out what to do.<br><br>
Do you think narrowing your choices might help? Just narrow to broad categories - stir fry night, vegetarian night, no cook (salad and sandwhich) night.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I don't think I've ever heard of a mom that doesn't go through that every once in a while or almost every night! I would go to the store, see all kinds of yummy looking veggies and fruits, stock up on meat, and then claim almost every night that I didn't know what to make/didn't have stuff on hand to make anything! Then by weeks end, I was throwing out all kinds of mushy things from the fridge <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> $$$ down the drain. I guess it was going through cookbooks last minute, seeing that I didn't have a few specialized ingredients needed, tired of making last minute stops to the grocery store to get those few things, that would put me in the cooking block.<br><br>
The only thing that helps me now, is doing the weekly meal plan. And i mean delailed. One column is the menu and the column before that is the prep that has to be done the day before, whether it's taking out meat to defrost, something to soak (NT) or whatever else. And this is for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert (usually fruit) Dinner was my biggest problem, but I figured I'd do it for all meals. You would not believe how easy it is once you know what your going to make!!! All you have to do is walk in the kitchen at the set time you start making dinner, and all is planned out for you. No more thinking or rummaging through the fridge to see what you can make tonight!<br><br>
Now I will admit that the hardest thing is to remember to sit down once a week to do the actual menu! It seems like it will take me close to an hour to plan out everything, but I think once I have done about 3 weeks of menus it will be much easier, because i can just rotate around our stand by meals. Maybe I"ll put in a night every couple of weeks where we try out a new meal.<br><br>
I have seen how easy life is when you have a menu!!! You can do as above posters do and make it simple with a designated chicken, beef, veggie night etc. I haven't made my menu in the last couple weeks and have racking my brains almost every night, or ended up eating out. So I will make a real effort to make my menu in the next couple days!!! HTH! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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If you are tired and out of creative ideas, try the Saving Dinner cookbooks - I have been doing the Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way plans this week and there are a ton of fresh veggies and she does give serving suggestions for those family members who eat carbs (i.e. to serve with brown rice, whole grain rolls, etc.)...point is she gives you a shopping list for the whole week so its a no brainer and you don't end up with leftover unused mushy stuff in your fridge. Each meal serves 4 and the dinners don't take too long to make. She gives a main dish with all of the sides all on the same page in the cookbook I have been getting dinner on the table in 30 to 45 minutes each night (and I am a SLOW cook!!!). I also found it was easy to incorporate it into our (read: my) effort to eat organic, whole foods - my son has a gluten and egg allergy as well and the meals fit into that really well too.
 

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We try to have split pea soup with bread once a week. It is so quick and easy to make. 79cent bag of peas, 6 cups water, chopped onion or onion powder, thyme, bay leaf. Pair with a good whole grain bread, and a salad (or sliced cucumber and tomato sprinkled with salt...mmmm). Peas plus wheat makes a complete protein.<br><br>
I try to rotate so we don't have chicken 2 days in a row, or beef or lamb. I try to rotate so we don't have pasta 2 days in a row, or rice, or cous cous, or potato. Nobody seems to care if we have the same vegetables 2 or 3 days in a row, so I don't worry about those.<br><br>
Try getting your family to help you make a list of their favorite things that you cook. Then, write yourself a calendar.<br><br>
For your vegetarian recipes that take a long time, can some of the stages be made in bulk and frozen? Then you don't have to do it each time. (I do this with pie crusts. It is just as easy to make 5 as to make 1, and then I freeze the other 4 for quicker use later.) If you have a calendar, you would know you need to take it out of the freezer to thaw.
 
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